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Name: Raya
Status: Student
Grade:  12+
Location: VT
Country: United States
Date: Fall 2010


Question:
Do hydrophilic dyes exist? For example, if one were to try to dye a phospholipid bilayer, can it be done?



Replies:
Food coloring dyes are all water soluble, hence very hydrophilic. I don't know whether they will accomplish what you want to do, however.

Vince Calder


Hi Raya,

There are lots of hydrophilic dyes, and there are lots of stains designed for cell-membrane visualization. Here's one example from
Invitrogen:

http://probes.invitrogen.com/media/pis/mp10045.pdf

If you read the document, it discussed what makes an idea cell membrane stain. If you want to visualize the cell membrane, I'm not sure you would want a hydrophilic dye. The lipid bilayer, as you may know, is hydrophobic internally, and hydrophilic externally. To stain it, you can attach a dye to its surface (binding to proteins or sugars on the surface), or you can use a dye that has both hydrophobic and hydrophilic components (such as the referenced invitrogen stain).

Hope this helps,
Burr



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